U-M: Obamatons

31 01 2012

I’ve often written optimistically of the young people resisting the urge to conform to the campus status quo, proclaiming the ideals of liberty deep behind the enemy lines of a hostile academia.

Nowhere was that trend less apparent that at the University of Michigan’s Al Glick Field House this past Friday morning, where Obama spoke to an adoring crowd of 4,000.

The students and faculty who packed the Field House and filled overflow rooms were not there to be challenged. They weren’t there for insight. They were there for a performance.

And Obama delivered. From the requisite “Go Blue!” and references to U-M athletes (which seem so endearing to supporters and so trite to opponents) to a healthy dose of leftist rhetoric, Obama hit all the right notes.

Education for all! Jobs of the future! Redistribution! Class warfare! Warren Buffett’s secretary! Clean energy!

“We’ve already doubled fuel economy standards on cars,” said Obama.

No, Mr. President, we didn’t double fuel economy standards. You most certainly didn’t. If anything, automotive engineers did – and the consumer picked up the tab racked up by the ever-increasing burdens of regulation.

Law can be changed by edict, but reality can’t – not that the audience of supposedly well-educated Wolverines cared to take notice of Obama’s arrogantly fallacious statements. They didn’t seem to notice the vacuousness of his grand plan for education reform, either.

College students want to hear that they won’t have pay for their student loans. Don’t worry, said Obama:

“We’ve capped student loan payments so that nearly 1.6 million students, including a bunch of you, are only going to have to pay 10 percent of your monthly income towards your loans once you graduate: 10 percent of your monthly income.”

Students, parents, and university administrators don’t want to admit it, but increasing the availability of financial aid and making it easier to rack up college loan debt only drives the cost of college tuition inexorably higher.

It’s like clockwork: universities hike tuition, and then come forward boasting about bountiful financial aid opportunities and student loans tailored to suit most any need. While a few billion more towards student loans and grants might help those in school now, and even hearten parents with children approaching college-age, it will not help bring sky-high tuition back down to earth.

Even Obama acknowledged that the current situation is unsustainable – but fortunately, he had a solution to offer. Like every other command-and-control statist, Obama seems to realize that for each command – like the expansion of funding for education – there is an equal and opposite reaction that must be controlled.

And that’s why Obama announced that he is “putting colleges on notice” when it comes to tuition rates. Moreover, he said, “if you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down. We should push colleges to do better. We should hold them accountable if they don’t.”

I’m sure Mary Sue Coleman is shaking in her boots.

Never mind that holding colleges accountable for tuition rate increases sounds suspiciously like one of Governor Synder’s initiatives; he is loathed by much of campus as an anti-education right-winger. A prophet hath no honor in his own country, I suppose.

I know how that works. I don’t enjoy being one of the few gadflies on campus that can’t seem to put politics aside and simply embrace the pomp and circumstance of a presidential visit. But my detachment has afforded me a certain perspective. I’m beginning to grasp the dynamic that makes many otherwise intelligent students line up behind a president so prone to empty rhetoric and counterproductive non-solutions.

My peers believe Obama is, both in background and ideology, one of them. They are completely invested in his success. They believe they helped put Obama in the White House, and they believe they are going to keep him there in 2012. More significantly, they believe that Obama is (to borrow a favorite phrase) the change they wish to see in the world.

Surrounded by 4,000 young, adoring supporters, completely insulated from the unintended consequences of his ill-begotten policies, I can see how Obama might begin to believe that, too.

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One response

31 01 2012
Gary Knowles

Perhaps if you drink the tasty Kool-Aid Mr.Kozak, your clouded vision will improve and you’ll see what a fine cloak and crown the prince is wearing?

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